Department of Labor & Workforce Development

NJ Labor Dept. has Distributed $16.2B in Unemployment Benefits in Less than 7 Months


October 8, 2020

TRENTON – The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development has dispensed $16.2 billion in unemployment benefits to jobless workers since the COVID-19 pandemic idled a significant portion of the state’s workforce nearly seven months agoand today announced it had begun accepting certifications for up to six weeks of FEMA Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) payments. 

LWA is a limited-time federal program that pays supplemental benefits to workers who earned at least $100 in unemployment benefits during the weeks ending Aug. 1 through Sept. 5 for a COVID-19 related reason. The benefit is $300 per week for up to six weeks, for a maximum payment of $1,800. 

“Our overarching concern is for New Jerseyans whose lives have been upended by the pandemic – workers who lost their jobs and those who were already out of work when COVID-19 hit, workers who have gotten sick themselves and those who can’t work because their child’s school or daycare is closed due to COVID,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “We are pleased to be able to make these additional payments to more than one million workers who are experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic.” 

The Labor Department began accepting certifications today from people who were unemployed during the specified time and who have not given a reason for their unemployment. Those people, who are receiving email notifications from the department, must attest that they are out of work due to COVID to receive the extra benefit 

To claim this additional benefit, please visit: https://lwdwebpt.dol.state.nj.us/ClaimStatus/claimStatus.htm 

Significantly, people receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) or regular unemployment (UI) during that window who previouslattested that their unemployment is because of COVID will receive the money automatically and do not have to certify. Payments will be made as a lump sum and are expected the week of Oct. 19. 

For the week ending Oct. 3, 23,607* individuals filed new unemployment claims, a 13 percent decline from the prior week following two weeks of increases. The number of new weekly claims has averaged roughly 23,000 over the past eight weeks. 

The average unemployment recipient has received $11,849 in wage-replacement benefits. The department distributed $262 million last week alone. 

Of the 1.65 million who have applied for benefits since mid-March, 1.4 million have met the monetary requirements, and 96 percent of those have received payment. 

Also last week, the Labor Department emailed 68,000 claimants receiving PUA to request additional wage records, as they could be eligible for higher benefits than the $230 PUA minimum. This process started with the earliest dates of claim and will get through all PUA minimum claims over the next few weeks. 

Click the images below to view them full-size.

Here is a look at the number of new unemployment claims received by the department each week.

New claims for the week of October 8

Here is a look at the weekly payments made by the Labor Department to eligible claimants:

Weekly Payment Breakdown October 8

PUA, PEUC and FPUC are federal programs authorized by Congress under the CARES Act. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provides benefits through the end of the year; maximum eligibility is 46 weeks, including extended benefits. Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) provides 13 weeks of federal benefits for those who exhaust 26 weeks of state unemployment. State extended benefits (EB) automatically offers an additional 20 weeks of assistance once PEUC ends. Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) provided $600/week to everyone eligible for unemployment for the weeks of April 4 through July 25. Congress has thus far failed to extend the program.

For more information on state or federal unemployment programs, visit myunemployment.nj.gov.

Anyone looking for work is encouraged to visit New Jersey’s jobs portal -- jobs.covid19.nj.gov -- which matches jobseekers with immediate openings in industries such as food distribution, warehousing and health care.

For national unemployment data, visit https://www.dol.gov/ui/data.pdfFor archived NJ claims data, visit https://oui.doleta.gov/unemploy/DataDashboard.asp.

*This represents the final number for the week ending Oct. 3. The number listed for New Jersey by the US Department of Labor – 22,699 – is based on advanced reporting.

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